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Kashmir Newz Board

Lankan Army chief visits Kashmir

Srinagar, Monday, March 03, 2008:

Sri Lankan Army Chief Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka visited Indian administered Kashmir Monday while he began a week long tour of India.

Fonseka flew to areas close to the ceasefire line, that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan controlled portions, and had an aerial survey of the areas, official sources said.

Fonseka later returned to New Delhi.

The defence spokesman in Srinagar declined to give details about Fonseka’s visit, but reports from New Delhi said that Fonseka was briefed about anti-insurgency operations in the region.

An anti-India insurgency broke out in Indian administered Kashmir in 1989.

An estimated 80,000 people have died in the two decade old conflict.

Voices for right to self determination enjoy popular support in the Muslim dominated Kashmir.

Sri Lankan Army is fighting the Tamil rebels who have a stronghold in northern part of the island nation.

Sri Lanka has recently broken a six year old ceasefire to launch an aggressive military operation against the rebel group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). Fonseka, who has done extensive military courses in army training institutes in India begins, will meet the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs apart from the Defence Minister A K Antony during his week long stay in India.

The visit by the Sri Lankan army chief comes in the wake of the island nation increasingly looking at China and Pakistan for weapons supply in the face of India's reluctance to provide it sophisticated arms as New Delhi does not want go get sucked into the ethnic crisis in that country, the news agency PTI reported.

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